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The INSIDER: Volleyball

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 5:30 a.m. CST
Caption
(Rob Winner — rwinner@shawmedia.com)
DeKalb's Courtney Wagner (center) celebrates a Barbs' point during the second game Tuesday in DeKalb. The Barbs suffered a 25-20, 29-31, 25-20 loss to Kaneland.

Barbs confused after loss to Knights

DeKalb coach Ben Fisher was frustrated after Tuesday’s loss to Kaneland.

At no time did Fisher feel like his team would win the match, which is puzzling with the considerable amount of talent on the Barbs roster.

“I feel like we just haven’t come to play, and there’s not a sense of urgency,” Fisher said.

The Barbs have been inconsistent this season despite a 25-7 record. Fisher doesn’t think that record speaks to how the Barbs have played.

“That’s the most frustrating part of the whole thing, is watching us play so well at times and watching us be the complete opposite at some times,” he said. “Just a lot of inconsistencies. I don’t think it’s because of youth, I don’t think it’s a lack of talent. I think it’s a decision.”

Surprising Knights

Kaneland lost a lot of talent coming into this season, including Daily Chronicle All-Area first-teamers Kylie Siebert and Katie Dudzinski. But the Knights have put emphasis on growing together as a team and creating a family-like atmosphere all season.

It appears to be working after a meaningful win over DeKalb.

“It means so much for our team. We’ve been working so hard on teamwork, and we just battled it out,” senior Keri Groen said. “Our captains really stepped it up to make sure we’re connecting as a team and we’re pushing each other in practice.”

Sophomore Ellie Dunn was a huge contributor on the front line Wednesday, tallying six kills and six blocks. In her first year on varsity, Dunn said the team’s togetherness has been a key to its surprising season.

“We’re all really close. Everyone gets on everyone, and it’s not cliquey. We just have a good time all the time.”

Spartans dominate Yorkville

Sycamore moved into a first-place tie with Yorkville after a 25-20, 25-21 victory over the Foxes on Tuesday.

The Spartans have handed Yorkville its only two Northern Illinois Big 12 East losses of the season. Sycamore started Tuesday’s first game slow, but rallied to take the first set. They built an early 10-point lead in game two and coasted to the win.

• Ross Jacobson contributed to this report.

VIEWS: Big week ahead for Sycamore, Kaneland

This past week rocked the local volleyball scene, with Sycamore and Kaneland each knocking off two-time defending champion DeKalb.

We learned two things in those games: the Spartans are back, and the Knights are coming on strong.

Sycamore coach Debbie Klock has raved all year about her team’s improvement after bringing every player back. Klock thought her team should have beaten the Barbs in the teams’ first meeting of the season, but the Spartans dropped a close second game after winning the first before DeKalb came out on top.

Sycamore’s resurgence hasn’t just come on the varsity level. Klock has emphasized that from the top down, her program is strong.

Kaneland coach Todd Weimer, meanwhile, thought this team may take some time to come together. Kaneland showed in wins against Morris and DeKalb, though, that they’re ready to contend right now.

The Barbs still have a shot at the conference title, but the last week has shown that they’re not going to skate through the conference basically unscathed as they have in the last two seasons, when they compiled a 19-1 record.

Coach Ben Fisher was unhappy with his team after their loss to Kaneland on Tuesday, but they’re still a talented group. We’ll see if they can manage to pull it together before the end of the conference season.

With Sycamore and Kaneland set to play Thursday, it will be interesting to see which resurgent program can best the other.

• Anthony Zilis is a contributor to the Daily Chronicle. Contact him by email at sports@daily-chronicle.com.

SPOTLIGHT ON…

Ellie Dunn, Kaneland, sophomore

In her first year on varsity, Dunn has become an integral part of a daunting Kaneland front line. Her six blocks and six kills on Tuesday were crucial in Kaneland’s win over Sycamore.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Kaneland at Sycamore, Thursday, 6 p.m.

The Knights can pull even with the conference-leading Spartans with a win. Each team would claim at least a piece of the conference championship if it wins their last three.

Yorkville at DeKalb, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

The Barbs lost their first conference game to Yorkville. To stay in the conference race, they’ll need to beat the Foxes.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Sycamore (19-8, 5-2 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) The Spartans had a big week, beating DeKalb and Yorkville.

2. Kaneland (15-9, 4-3 NI Big 12 East) The Knights beat DeKalb on Tuesday to move up two spots in the rankings.

3. DeKalb (25-7, 4-3 NI Big 12 East) Two tough losses to conference rivals Sycamore and Kaneland this week.

4. Genoa-Kingston (17-10, 10-3 Big Northern Conference East) The Cogs lost to Burlington Central but followed it up with a win over Marengo.

5. Indian Creek (10-10, 2-3 Little Ten Conference) The Timberwolves beat Serena last week in a strong LTC tournament performance.

6. Hinckley-Big Rock (8-8, 3-2 LTC) It’s been an up-and-down season for the Royals.

7. Hiawatha (5-13, 1-5 LTC) The Hawks fell to Newark on Tuesday despite nine kills from Dani Clark.

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